Avocado and asparagus salad, Bellota ham, lemon oil dressing

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The cured ham used in Alan Murchison's salad dish is a little bit special – it features the top grade of ham produced in Spain: jamón Ibérico de Bellota. This is not to be confused with the mass-produced Serrano hams. Make the avocado purée 2 to 3 hours before you want to use it to allow the flavours to infuse, and keep it in the refrigerator.

First published in 2015





Avocado purée


Lemon oil dressing

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 lemons, skin thinly peeled
  • 200ml of lemon juice, fresh
  • 220ml of olive oil
  • 220ml of groundnut oil
  • 50ml of white wine vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Food processor or blender


To make the avocado purée, blend the flesh of one avocado with the lime juice, water and olive oil until you achieve a smooth purée
  • 1 avocado, peeled and stoned
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 60ml of water
  • 85ml of olive oil
Finely chop the chilli, coriander, spring onions and shallots and drop them into the blender whilst continuously blending
Scrape down the sides and finely pulse the remaining avocado flesh. Season to taste and set aside. Clean the blender ready for the guacamole
To make the guacamole, very finely chop the chilli and coriander
Finely chop the red onion. Add the onion, chilli, coriander and remaining ingredients to the blender until the tomato is chopped. Season to taste. Set aside and clean the blender ready for the lemon dressing
To make the lemon oil dressing, grind the salt, sugar and lemon peelings in the blender
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for 1 minute. Add more sugar if necessary and season to taste. The dressing will keep in a sterilised bottle in the refrigerator for up to three weeks
To make the salad, brush the croutons with olive oil and bake until golden. Blanch the asparagus spears
To plate, place a quarter of the guacamole on the top and the centre of a large square white plate
Place three chicory leaves into the guacamole so they are standing vertically and are evenly spaced
Place a crouton horizontally between the first and second, and second and third chicory leaf
Place a single pissant leaf in front of the central chicory leaf so that it stands vertically and leaning slightly forward
  • 4 pissant leaves
Spoon on two stripes of avocado purée from the centre of the mound of guacamole to the bottom two corners of the plate and place an asparagus spear next to each
Scatter over a quarter of the ham batons, Parmesan shavings and pea shoots and finish the plate with drops of the lemon dressing. Repeat the entire process on the remaining three plates
First published in 2015

Alan Murchison began working in family-run hotels in Scotland at 14, but it was a stint at Inverlochy Castle in Fort William that gave him his first taste of cooking fine food.

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